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12/30/2010
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Verizon To Showcase Smart Home Monitoring At CES

The telecommunications company is taking a crack at offering an automated home service, a concept that has yet to gain much acceptance among consumers.

Verizon is planning to showcase at the Consumer Electronics Show next month the use of its high-speed Internet service to drive the automated home, a decades old idea that has yet to attract much interest among consumers.

The telecommunications company said Thursday that the CES demonstration would be the precursor to a pilot program Verizon plans to launch in New Jersey in January. Selected homes will be outfitted with an energy reader, motion sensors, indoor and outdoor video cameras and thermostats, appliances, doors, and windows that can be controlled remotely over a broadband connection. Much of this technology stems from partnerships with device manufacturers.

Verizon's take on the automated home, a concept that can be traced back at least as far as the 1930s, is to provide people with the technology to remotely check surveillance cameras, lock doors and windows, adjust indoor temperatures, turn on lights and more using a smartphone, computer, or TV connected to Verizon's FIOS broadband service. The technologies to accomplish such tasks have been around for some time. Microsoft showed off home automation prototypes nearly a decade ago. Such services have failed to take off because the technology involved is expensive to buy and install and require a lot of technical know how on the part of the user.

Undaunted by consumer preference to set thermostats and lock doors and windows manually, Verizon will demonstrate its version of the automated home at CES in Las Vegas next week. The company plans to make its Home Monitoring and Control service available in the first half of next year.

Verizon is pushing more than convenience in its upcoming service. The company claims the system will help in cutting carbon emissions, a major cause of global warming, and reduce energy bills. "What we'll be testing in these homes is just the beginning," Eric Bruno, VP of product management for Verizon, said in a statement.

Verizon will likely face many challenges in proving that the tests are not the end.

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